One of my thesis projects for graduate school invited an exploration in developing and articulating commitments to the design of learning environments. This reflective practice pushed me to look more closely at myself and how I exist alongside the learners in my context of Outschool. Guiding questions included- What do the children and families in my context need? What can I offer them? What does the larger system say the children “need”/ how does the environment that I create support or challenge this? What are the possibilities in our environment? How are children already engaging in our shared learning environment? Am I doing anything to inhibit or encourage their natural ways of engaging? How can I support empowered engagement in virtual learning contexts? I think this type of reflection is important for every educator in every type of learning context to visit at least once a year, if not more.
I plan to continue working as an educator in all-virtual environments for the foreseeable future and my commitments are written with this in mind.
- I commit to designing adaptable environments that support a dynamic range of sensory perceptions informed by my ongoing observations around how the learners in my context learn best.
- I commit to designing environments that support authentic reciprocal relationships between people, spaces, materials, technology and concepts.
- I commit to designing culturally responsive virtual learning environments that are guided by aesthetic, sensorial, technological and relational considerations.
- I commit to designing virtual learning environments that honor and include the home environments & hopes of parents for the learners in ways that are equitable and flexible.